As lockdown lifts and we all start moving around again, let's remember the people who kept things running for us while we were able to safely isolate at home.
Mark Thomas, comedian, trouble maker and thorn in the government's side, launched his new podcast 'Key Words' on 23rd June.
Available here: https://soundcloud.com/themarkthomaspodcast
Available on Soundcloud, the podcast uses nearly 100 hours of interviews with workers who kept the country running during lockdown. From cleaners to refuse collectors, posties and care workers. Mark collects testimony from Key Workers about their experience during lockdown, putting their words centre spot in this revealing and celebratory podcast.
In this six-part series, Mark, in his typical style of drawing attention to things the government might rather we forget, talks to essential workers about how they carried on, continuing to hold things together, while the government, in the words of Boris Johnson was ’totally hopeless”. Mark asks what changed for them, what stayed the same, and what the future holds.
The very same workers who were deemed by the Home Secretary as being 'low skilled' were suddenly transported to being 'essential' almost overnight, and it became clear that everyone, including the rich and influential, needed the so-called 'low skilled' workers more than they might like to admit or realise.
Mark's previous podcast collecting working peoples testimony was for the Wellcome Collection - Mark Thomas’s Lockdown Check Up - which followed NHS and care staff through the first lockdown has now been put into the Wellcome Collection permanent archive.
'As lockdown lifts and we all start moving around again, let's remember the people who kept things running for us while we were able to safely isolate at home. Who stacked your supermarket shelves, who cleaned the tube handrails, who took your rubbish away, who drove the buses'? It wasn't Matt Hancock or Michael Gove. It was the people Priti Patel has termed 'low skilled'. I think we all know where the skills are based in this country, and I don't think it's in Downing St'
Carlos, a tube driver with the RMT Union said:
‘Key workers. I think we know certainly in this country. Key workers is, you know, a colloquialism for someone being shafted. I mean, we've got no key workers who are doing great.’